Five things I cannot live without ;
my Polar library
twice-daily arthritis pills
tap water – yes,
Mum’s pre-war copy of Little Women
with a single colour plate
This was my inspiration for my contribution to our Ten Year Anniversary Edition of ABBA this month.
FIVE THINGS A WRITER CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT
Mine involves staring which is ok when you are on a deserted beach but can give rise to some tricky moments when you are staring at people in Costa cafe (where I often work) and they start glaring back. Picasso said, "Inspiration is there but it has to find you working." So I write and I grumble and I do displacement stuff and then I find myself going into a stare and there I am - in the wonderful zone of inspiration.
I nearly enlarged this picture and those of you who know me will understand why and probably everyone else as well. If inspiration starts with staring then it certainly can be fuelled by chocolate
Don't believe me?
Give it a go!
It has to be the right type. My husband has been perfecting the art of buying me the correct notebooks for over 30 years and trust me, he is the current world expert. Mainly because he can't think of anything else to buy me for birthday presents. I have notebooks to fill from Harrods, the Metropolitan museum of Art and Muji. I don't care if my notebooks are expensive, cheap, falling apart, hard cover, soft cover, BUT! I hate rough paper with woodchip in it, I hate lined paper with huge gaps between the lines and I hate the squared paper that French schoolchildren seem to want to write on. I LOVE yellow paper but absolutely no other colour except white of course and perhaps cream, but it has to be exactly the right shade of cream.
Difficult? Me? Never!
4. Somewhere to write
I wrote my first novel on the kitchen table while the kids were asleep. Later my husband divided our bedroom and built me a place for the computer my darling dad bought me. By then the kids were doing homework so they commandeered 'mum's space' regularly. Even later my husband built me a proper study on the end of the house. He calls it a shed, ( wooden walls mostly) but iits really quite integral to the house. I love it. But my favourite places to write? Coffee bars. I've been writing in coffee bars since I was sixteen and read about Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre and the coffee culture of 1930s Paris. I never got over it. Here I am in Starbucks at Camden Lock.
5. A writing implement.
I was inkwell monitor in Tudor Road Junior school when I was in 4A. We wrote with nibs dipped in ink. We learnt Marion Richardson handwriting style and I won prizes. I've written with quills, charcoal, tailor's chalk, Stephenson's ink, calligraphy pens, gouache and HB pencils sharpened by my father with the bread knife. My favourite pens today are Muji thin fibre tip pens, navy blue colour. What do you write with?
That's my top five things I can't live without as a writer. What would you put on the list? Look forward to reading your comments, folks.
HIDDEN, Meadowside books, March 2011